Beloved Athens vegetarian restaurant to close permanently next month after 36 years

ATHENS, Ga. — A beloved staple of the Athens restaurant scene announced Thursday that it will permanently close after 36 years.

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The Grit specializes in vegan and vegetarian food, and occupies a historic building on Prince Avenue that was once owned by R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. The restaurant was founded in 1986 and published a cookbook in 2001. In 2020, the Grit was one of the first Athens restaurants to convert a side street into a parklet where guests could dine during the pandemic.


“Unfortunately, things have changed due to the pandemic and we’ve had to reevaluate our business goals,” owners wrote on Facebook. “So, it is with heavy hearts, but with a hopeful eye on the future, that we announce that we are closing our doors at the end of evening service on Friday October 7th 2022.”

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General Manager Jay Totty told the Athens Banner-Herald that the Grit’s staff was notified before the announcement was made.